Trading Matthew Stafford solves nothing for the Detroit Lions

Matthew Stafford, Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
Matthew Stafford, Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /

After an unfortunate injury on Sunday night, the trendy topic this week is trading Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford … but why?

With the Detroit Lions holding a 1-3 record and quarterback Matthew Stafford healthy, evidently,  2020 is the year to trade the team’s franchise-leading quarterback. The rumors, which can’t be tied to either team actually having any conversations about the matter, are that the Dallas Cowboys would make a move for the Lions signal-caller.

We know Cowboys starting quarterback Dak Prescott, unfortunately, suffered a gruesome ankle injury and we wish him a speedy recovery. The Cowboys have quarterback Andy Dalton and shouldn’t be desperate, yet a Stafford trade rumor pops up. Maybe with Stafford’s high school connections to the state of Texas. But could this actually happen?

Why it makes sense

There’s an aura of negativity clouded over the city of Detroit and their entire fanbase at the moment. The team lost a Week 1 game they should have won. They were blown out and outplayed in two other games while sneaking out one victory in between.

A 1-3 record sure takes away the positive outlook on a season. So, after a weak start to the season and a bleak outlook of anything changing, it’s time to get what you can for good players before they lose some value.

Cue Stafford – a quality quarterback that can carry a team when needed. A better performing defense behind him and he might have a playoff win to his name. He’s the star of this team and the most obvious choice for trade bait.

The Lions would potentially gain draft capital or needed players for giving up their leader on offense. This scenario presumably means Lions general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia are relieved of their duties. In that case, draft picks would make the most sense.

Why a Stafford trade makes zero sense

To begin with, and despite the negativity surrounding the Lions faithful, the 2020 season is still young. With 12 games left to play, these Detroit Lions have one of the easiest remaining schedules in the league.

Can the Lions pull it together and win some games? It’s certainly possible. But not without Stafford. As proven in 2019, the Lions are weak at quarterback behind Stafford. With winnable games remaining, why pack it in and give up on 2020?

Also, if a general manager or coaching change was going to be made, you’d think it would have happened ahead of the bye week. The team would have had plenty of time for newly appointed coaches to adjust and transition. Players could have learned anything new from those coaches and adjustments could have been made. If giving up on the season already, why wait until there is less time to prepare the team for what comes next? It doesn’t add up.

Another thing that doesn’t add up would be the rumored trade with the Cowboys and potential compensation. Stafford would go from one 1-3 team to another in Dallas. The Cowboys chance in the NFC East might still be better, but it’s not a great improvement. Also, if Quinn and Patricia are on the way out, why would ownership allow Quinn to facilitate this trade?

To make things worse, the team is getting draft picks in return for Stafford because getting players that will play for a different coach doesn’t make much sense either. Let the new coach or general manager pick the players they want on their team, not the old regime.

It doesn’t add up

Getting what you can today in hopes that it’s better tomorrow is foolish. “One in the hand is better than two in the bush.”  Throwing away this season is one thing. Trading away players for the next coaching regime before knowing who they are is another thing completely. I think Justin Rogers of The Detroit News says it best:

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Stafford should remain with the Detroit Lions through this season at a minimum. After the season is over, that’s another story. General manager and coaching changes could surely be a factor, but right now, it’s a complete unknown.